Lindsay's Cosmic Outing

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Lindsay’s Cosmic Outing

Chapter 1 – Saturday, October 4, 1986

How am I going to do this? Chris wondered as he glanced around the party full of thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds. A dozen tables stood along one side of an enormous, brick driveway and balloons hung from the stately, brick Edwardian house on one side. The remainder of the driveway served as a dance floor. His eyes roamed amongst the girls, admiring their clothes as much or more than anything else.

For the umpteenth time of the evening, his eyes alit on a sandy blonde girl with blue eyes, named Sarah. This time, she was making her way to the nearby punch bowl. As she helped herself to another cup, Chris admired her purple dress, white tights and black, patent leather flats. Knowing that obvious ogling could make a girl uncomfortable, he used sidelong glances only. I love her outfit! She looks so... beautiful. Damn it! I want to be a girl, too! I want to be myself! There must be some way! Even if it’s only for an hour! As he watched, a late attendee arrived. The hazel-eyed brunette in a burgundy sweater, black skirt, and burgundy hose came up to Sarah, gently squeezed her arm and greeted her.

“Hi, Sarah! What have you been up to?” she began.

“Catherine! Oh, my God! I have to tell you about last night! My aunt and uncle came for dinner last night with my cousin Tim.”

“Dinner with the relatives? Sounds like fun.” Catherine rolled her eyes.

“Well, there was one thing that made it fun!” Sarah tittered. “I dressed up my cousin as a girl!” She bragged, making them both laugh. Those words seemed to grab Chris' ears and turn him completely around to face the girls, sitting up in his chair. He stared in rapture with his eyebrows raised.

“Oh my god! I wish I'd seen that! It must have been funny!” Catherine snickered.

“It was, though only because he looked awful. But it was so much fun!” Sarah beamed.

Really? Sarah liked it? Chris marveled at what he'd just heard. A fierce blush invaded his face as he eavesdropped. If she had so much fun dressing up her cousin, maybe she would dress me up. She only lives two blocks down the street from us. She's about my size – even her feet look about my size! I could tell her it's an idea for a Halloween costume – even though it’s very early for that. He paused as a potential problem occurred to him. I suppose I don't know her very well, though. She did just brag about dressing up her cousin... and she might brag about dressing me up, too. I need to know more about why he dressed up and why she’s telling about it. Rousing himself from his brief contemplation, Chris stood as Catherine left. Finishing his own punch, he now had an excuse to head over to Sarah. The remaining kids were at least ten feet away as Sarah grabbed a pig-in-a-blanket from a tray. Chris tried not to tremble as he approached the punch bowl beside the tray.

“Hey, um, Sarah?” He gave an awkward wave.

“Hi. Chris, right?” She smiled.

“Yeah, that’s me.” Chris reflected her smile.

“Well, what can I do for you, Chris?” she invited.

“Did you really dress up your cousin as a girl?” he blurted.

“Yup, I sure did!” she giggled. “It was fun!”

“Why did he let you dress him up?” Chris feigned disgust to be safe.

“I dared him to.” She shrugged with a chortle. “No biggie.”

“H-how far did he go with that?” Chris tried to appear uneasy.

“Oh, it was just a crappy Alice in Wonderland wig and a sleeveless dress over his boy clothes! I would have gone a lot further, just for fun, but the dress was too tight and nothing else would have fit. Besides, he wouldn’t have let me, anyway – which is too bad, because he looked stupid!” She frowned momentarily, but her face lit back up with a bright grin. “But it was still really fun!”

“Does he know you’re telling people about it?”

Sarah thought for a moment and shrugged. “Probably not,” she tittered. “But he never said not to tell anyone!” Suddenly, her face took on a puzzled expression. “Wait a minute, what’s with all of these questions? Why are you so interested?”

Chris looked around to make sure nobody had moved within earshot. I was going to think about this first! Well, here goes everything! “W-well, I was w-wondering if m-maybe you would... h-help me with something,” he stammered, looking down at the bricks and glancing at Sarah's tights and patent leather flats.

“Well, sure if I can,” she shrugged, with a blank look. “What is it? Does it have to do with dressing up as a girl?” she asked a tad too loud, making Chris check his surroundings again. “It does, doesn’t it?!” Sarah gasped, fortunately keeping her voice down. Thank God for the music!

“W-well, only for Halloween! It’s this month, a-and I was thinking of m-maybe...” he made sure nobody was paying attention. “W-well, I thought it m-might be funny to... g-go as a... girl.” He studied her blue eyes, trying to foresee any negative reaction. But none came.

“Getting an early start with your costume, huh?” she smirked, eyebrows raised.

“Uh, yeah.” Oh shit! Maybe it’s too early! “I-I mean, you know, this costume might be a little... tricky and... well, yeah.” Chris’ eyes fell to the bricks again, where they stole another glance at Sarah’s white, nylon legs.

“That could be funny. If you don’t look stupid like my cousin did,” she snorted.

“Oh, I don’t want to look stupid...“ He trailed off, knowing that he was in dangerous territory for a public conversation.

“How do you want to look, exactly?”

Shit. This is getting risky... but I can still call it off and truthfully say that I never went through with it. It would be her word against mine. “I-I was thinking of looking... w-well, like a real girl.” He chuckled. “You know... a normal girl.”

“Really?” Sarah’s face brightened. “Then you would be a lot more fun than my cousin!” She eyed his skinny, prepubescent frame. “And you’d look a lot better, too!” she giggled.

Wait. Is this working? Chris felt a light-headed hope surge within him. “Y-yeah, probably. S-so you'll help me?” he hazarded.

“Sure. Why not?” She smiled, still giggling at the idea.

“Cool! Thanks.” Chris smiled nervously.

“You're welcome.“ Sarah drank her punch, eyeing Chris over the rim of the cup.

“So, um... w-when do you want to do this?” Chris sipped his own punch. She's going to dress me up! Wow! This is exciting... and so very scary!

“Well... let's see, my dad will be away on business next weekend. My mom has to work until dinner time on Saturdays and I'm free until two that day. Sooooo, you could come over to my house that Saturday. That way we can look at a few things or maybe... try on a few things,” she giggled, playfully making her eyebrows dance. Chris couldn't help snickering himself.

“That sounds good! My family will be out all day, too.” Chris offered, his heart beating faster. That'd be perfect! I could walk right over without having to worry about my parents asking what I'm up to! They don’t ever have to know - unless I actually want to dress as a girl on Halloween.

“Okay, Great! I'll probably sleep in until eleven, so come around noon, okay? Two hours should be enough time.” She smiled, clasping her hands eagerly.

“Yeah. Okay, I will - oh, um, if it's okay, can we... maybe... not tell anyone about this? I-I mean, you know, I'm not sure I'm going to do it. I-I guess I just want to see how it would look first and, you know, make sure I don’t look silly.”

“Okay. We won't mention it. Do you know where I live?” Sarah inquired. “We don’t live too far away, I don’t think!”

“Nope. Just two blocks. I think I know which one is yours. The grey house with the front stairs, right?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.” She nodded.

“Okay. Good. I guess I’ll... see you then!” Chris swallowed and flashed a nervous smile.

“Yeah. See ya!” Sarah smiled and turned to find her friends.

Oh, my god. We’ve set up a time and it’s going to happen! Oh, my god! I'm going to dress as a girl! Oh, my god! I’m going to be ME! Oh, my GOD! A grin stretched across Chris’s face as he watched her walk away.

Chapter 2 – Saturday, October 11, 1986

As Chris reached Sarah’s block, he paused out of sight from her house. A woman in a burgundy trench coat approached with a black lab on a leash and Chris stood against a nearby house as if to let them pass. The dog briefly sniffed at Chris, who gave her a pat on the head.

“Sorry! Come on, Angel!” her guardian urged, leading her dog away.

“That’s okay!” Chris smiled. Looking back towards Sarah’s house, he began to reconsider his plans. Do I actually want to do this? It really is a big step. If I go through with it, there’s no telling what could happen. What if somebody finds out? What if her mom comes home from work early? He sighed as he pondered, his eyes drawn to a boat-like, blue, Buick Electra wagon passing by. But, I am a girl and I need this! What if I never get another chance to do this? I need to be a girl, even if it's only for a little while – and I have to do something before I go crazy! He deliberated, staring with longing at Sarah’s house and the taste of freedom that waited within. Okay, I’m going to do it because I really need to. So... I guess the real question is how far I should go with this. He debated between his desire and his reality, looking for the best compromise between being a girl and surviving the potential fallout. Well, I’m going to have to stick to girls’ jeans and a girl’s sweater or something. That way, if it ever got out that I did this, at least I could honestly say I never wore a dress – even if I do want to wear one. That’s probably the safest way to do this. Satisfied that he could survive whatever happened, he headed for Sarah’s house, walked into her driveway, wended to the left and climbed the front stairs.

Stepping up to the white front door, he took three deep breaths, and rang the bell. The door opened almost immediately, revealing a dark red foyer paneled in white wainscoting. Stairs on the left climbed to the second floor, and a mirror across from them hung above a slim, hall table. A large, rectangular, oriental rug lay on the hardwood floor. Sarah stood there with a smile, in jeans, a pink cable-knit sweater, and a gold cross pendant.

“Hi!” She flashed a bright yet devilish expression. “Come on in! We have the house all to ourselves!”

“Okay. Great!”

“Shall we go up to my room?” She suggested, closing the front door behind him as he stepped inside.

“Sure. Let's go.” Chris shrugged, barely containing himself as he followed Sarah up the stairs.

A few feet down the cream-carpeted, white hallway, Sarah made a left turn and stepped into a lilac bedroom. It was furnished with a white desk to the left, and a queen-size bed to the right, with white, embroidered sheets. A small, white couch sat kitty-corner right from the door, facing the bed, and across the room was Sarah’s closet.

“Nice room.” Chris blurted, hoping he didn't sound too enthusiastic about it. Really nice room.

“Thanks!” Sarah smiled at the compliment. “Have a seat on the couch for a second and I'll have a look in my closet. I think we're about the same size, so we shouldn’t have much trouble.”

“O-okay.”

I'm about to dress as a girl! This is unreal! But I'm so happy!

“Say, um... any idea what kind of outfit you want to wear?” She paused as she opened her closet door. “Casual? Formal? Fancy?”

“W-well, um... let’s see.” Looking around the room for an answer, Chris spotted a teens’ clothing catalog on the nightstand and stood to retrieve it. Returning to the couch, he browsed its pages. A few pages in, where the casual wear ended and the formal wear began, he found a photo on the left-hand page of a cute girl in pleated jeans, a lavender turtle-neck, a violet cardigan and matching Docksides. That should be safe enough! “How about something like this?” He showed Sarah the catalog, not paying attention to where he was pointing – and Sarah burst out laughing. Huh? What’s so funny? Chris glanced back at the catalog to see what was so hysterical. He realized that he was pointing at the first page of the formal section. His index finger rested on a photo of another pretty girl wearing a black, velvet, drop-waist dress with a high neck, gently ruched shoulders, three-quarter sleeves, and a two-tiered, navy, satin skirt. It hung to about four inches over the knee. The model wore sheer, white, polka-dot tights and black leather flats with bows on the toes and small heels. Chris’s eyes went wide as he took in his mistake. Holy shit! I can’t wear that! How could I possibly explain dressing like that – even for Halloween? If it ever got out that I put that on, I’d be screwed!

“You’re in luck! I have that dress!” She giggled.

“Oh, uh, you know I-I...“ As he looked back up to tell Sarah of his mistake, he found her standing before him, holding up the very dress shown in the catalog. She must have gotten it out of her closet while he was looking at the picture.

“That catalog is where I got it!” She laughed mercilessly. “This is going to be great!!” She continued laughing as she laid the dress on her bed, and rushed to her dresser, from which she extracted a pair of sheer, white tights, and a navy, satiny bra and panty set.

Oh no! I can’t do this! It’s just too much! It’s so much farther than you have to go for a costume – and Halloween’s almost three weeks away!

“Um—“ Chris began.

“Now, I don’t have those exact shoes,” Sarah rambled on, tossing the hose and lingerie on her bed without looking at Chris, “but I do have something pretty!” She tittered as she dashed for the closet. Too stunned to speak, Chris watched, shocked and awed, as Sarah returned, smiling gaily and holding up the same pair of black, patent leather flats that she’d worn to the party.

“Um...” Chris swallowed, his throat dry. “I-I meant to point to the girl in the purple sweater and jeans.” He paused, licking his lips. “I-I just... I-I’m afraid this might be going too far,” he stammered. Normally, he would maintain eye contact, as he habitually did, but his eyes strayed to the bed, where they roamed between the dress, the tights, and the lingerie. He finally looked up when Sarah didn’t answer. Her smile had faded. “Too far? On Halloween?” She laughed nervously. “Nah! It’s just a costume.” She seemed awfully disappointed.

Thinking it over, Chris realized that he really wanted to put on those lovely things on Sarah’s bed and he didn’t have to wear them on Halloween. Besides, he hated to see Sarah look so disappointed – and no one would ever know. “Uh, w-well, y-you’re right. I-I might as well have fun, I guess.” Chris shrugged. Oh wow! This is insane! Am I really doing this?

“Okay then,” Sarah’s bright smile shone as she grabbed the lingerie and hose from her bed. “I'll show you the bathroom and you can start with these.” She held them up. “You can leave your shoes in here, if you like.”

“O-okay.” Chris removed his shoes before accepting the lovely delicates, trying to hide the shaking in his hands. He followed Sarah down the hall to the left and into the bathroom, where he turned to find Sarah gently closing the door behind him, revealing the white, wood-framed full-length mirror on the back of the door.

“I'll bring you the dress next!” Her voice wafted through the door.

“Okay.”

“Let me know if you need help with the bra or the tights.” She giggled.

“I will.”

Turning around as her footsteps retreated to her room, Chris took in the powder blue paint, the floral bas-relief on the white tiles, the white bathtub with the silvery fixtures against the back wall, the matching towels, the white toilet on the left, and the floral scented soaps next to the sink on the right. The bathroom appeared to have been freshly remodeled – and he loved it! Glancing down at the feminine garments in his hands, he carefully laid them on the counter next to the sink.

I can’t believe I’m really doing this! God, this is so exciting but so terrifying! Dear God, please don't let anyone find out about this! He swallowed hard and removed his clothing, hanging it on a hook to one side of the door. Gently, he picked up the panties and slipped them on. Immediately, they brought a wondrous feminine energy into his being. Enjoying the sensation, he grabbed the bra, gradually got it on, and adjusted it around his chest, intensifying the feeling.

His heart redlined and his fingers quivered as he picked up the tights, awed at how soft they felt. Closing the lid on the toilet and sitting down, he started to put the tights on like pants, stopping when he remembered a television commercial in which a model slipped on a pair of pantyhose. Imitating what he remembered, he bunched up one leg, inserted his toes, and gently tugged the hose just above his knee. Wow! I'm going to love these! He repeated the process with his other foot, and carefully pulled them up until he brought them to his waist. I already love these! The polka-dots would have been cute, but these plain ones are lovely, too! Wow, this is so amazing!

He turned to face the full-length mirror, and his smile faltered when he noticed the small bulge at his crotch. Frowning, he looked around the bathroom as if he'd find a solution lying on the counter. He spied a tube of toothpaste near the faucet. Someone had been dutifully squeezing the tube from the bottom. He wondered if he could do something similar between his legs and decided to find out. It was painful for a moment, but the worst passed quickly. He readjusted the panties and tights and took a second to look in the mirror. The bulge was gone!

As he smiled at his reflection, there was a knock at the door. “Ready for the dress?” Sarah asked, in an impish voice.

“Yes, I'm ready.” Chris opened the door enough for Sarah to pass the dress and shoes inside.

“It’s got a built-in slip, so all you have to do is step into the dress and zip it up behind you. Can you manage that?” She caught a glimpse at him and laughed, making Chris chuckle. He shook his head as he eased the door shut. Is this really a good idea? Even if I want to, should I? Well, it’s kind of too late now! She’s already seen me in the underwear and tights! Enjoying his physiological high, he removed the padded hanger from the dress and placed it on the counter. Carefully, he stepped into the dress, pulled his arms through the sleeves, and reached behind him to raise the zipper. Slipping into the shoes, he turned around to face the mirror. What he saw was a girl. He had yet to begin puberty, and he had always had soft features and long eyelashes. His thick, wavy, brown, collar-length hair wasn't exactly feminine, but it was miles from boyish. The brown eyes of his reflection sparkled with his excitement. Another knock interrupted his reverie and he hesitantly pulled his gaze from his reflection.

“All done?”

“Yeah, I'm done.”

“Good. Come on back to my room.”

“Okay. Here I come.”

Chris opened the door to Sarah's breathless smile.

“Wow! I thought you'd look cute, but... you look like you really are a girl!” she gasped, giving Chris a momentary panic. Jesus! It's alright, Chris. She doesn't know; she's just saying that. “Even your hair... it just looks like it needs a little brushing and...” Abruptly, she grabbed his clothes and padded hanger. Bunching it all in the crook of one arm, she grabbed his hand and ushered him back down the hall into her room. She threw his clothes on her bed, plopped his shoes on her floor, and deposited her padded hanger on a hook on the inside of her open closet door. After sitting him down on the chair in front of her white desk, she grabbed a tub of hair goop and massaged some of it into Chris' hair until it was distributed and gone from her hands. The pleasant floral smell and the sensation of her fingers nearly made him faint. Sarah picked up her wide brush and meticulously brushed out Chris' hair, making it shine. Opening her top right dresser drawer, she pulled out a black, velvet headband to complete the outfit, gently sliding it into place on Chris's head. Finally, she guided him back to the full-length mirror in the bathroom, where they both stared at his reflection in wonder.

“Whoa!” Chris' heart was still revving to the point that he thought it might give out from fatigue. This is scary but it feels so wonderful! I love this so much! He felt his emotions welling up, but did not allow himself to reach the point of tears. The point was to be a girl for awhile, not to reveal his secret! “I-I look like a real girl!”

Suddenly, Sarah's doorbell rang, making her turn her head toward the door, her eyes wide, one hand over her mouth.

“Oh shit! Jennifer’s here!” She briefly closed her eyes. “I’m sorry! She’s borrowing a dress for some fancy event tonight at the Metropolitan Club. I completely forgot she was coming – mainly since I’m not a member and I won’t be going! I’m so sorry, Chris!” She looked back at Chris with sympathy as the doorbell rang again.

“Um, s-so—“ Chris began.

“It’s okay. We already know which dress she’s borrowing and she has to leave, so it will only take a minute,” she reassured, placing one hand on Chris’ shoulder. “I’m so sorry! You’ll be safe in here! It’ll just take a minute, I swear!” She squeezed Chris’s shoulder and left the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Coldness touched his heart as he listened to her footsteps recede down the hall. I don’t like this! Please God, don’t let me get caught in this dress! While he waited, his eyes were drawn back to the mirror. A forlorn sigh left his lungs as he gazed at his reflection. Why couldn't I have been that girl? I want to be that girl! That's me! His eyes threatened to spill his frustration down his face, but that would only raise questions with Sarah, so he forced his emotions back into his heart. He tried to keep himself calm as he waited, listening to the girls greet each other downstairs – as the universe sprung a cosmic surprise.

“Hi, Jennifer!”

“Hi, Sarah! Looks like you finished the remodeling! Wow! Nice kitchen!”

“Yeah. Here, I'll show you real quick. It’s nice!”

“Yeah, please do! I don’t have too long, but I’d love to see all of the changes.” Their footsteps went into the kitchen and Chris lost track of the conversation. Before long, they were back in the foyer and Chris could hear them.

“Oh hey! Can I see the new bathroom upstairs?” Jennifer begged as they emerged from the kitchen.

Oh no! She's nosy and she wants the grand tour! Chris fretted.

“Um, yeah!” Sarah uttered.

Shit! I have to move! Maybe, if I’m fast, I can get changed back into boy clothes before they make it upstairs. I smell like flowers, but we can tell her that Sarah sprayed me with perfume as a joke. Chris carefully opened the door and crept quietly down the hall. I can make it faster if I keep the panties and tights on under my jeans. This could work! The girls' footsteps came across the foyer toward the stairs. Chris darted into Sarah's bedroom, but couldn’t see his clothes anywhere. Shit!! What did she do with them?? As the girls started up the stairs, he spotted the teens’ clothing catalog on the couch, snatched it up, and sat down, tending to the skirt of his dress and crossing his legs as he knew girls did.

“How long did it take to get all of this stuff done?” Jennifer queried, as they passed Sarah’s room and headed for the new bathroom.

“Oh, God, like a year!” Sarah responded.

Their chatter droned on as Jennifer swooned over the bathroom, asking all sorts of questions. Jesus! Would you like to see the permits and blueprints, too? Chris shook his head. As they headed for Sarah’s room, Chris braced himself while a new thought crossed his mind. Oh shit! We're going to be introduced! I need a fake name! Well, my middle name is Lindsay, so I'll have to use that. Jesus! This is not what I had in mind! Chris face-palmed before turning his attention to the magazine and pretending to be enthralled.

Chapter 3

“Hi!” Sarah uttered as she walked in, followed by her friend.

“Hey there. I don't think I know you. I'm Jennifer.” She gave a wave. She wore jeans, a red sweater, red sneakers and a ponytail in a big red scrunchy. Her wavy black hair cascaded behind her shoulders, revealing the small, gold hoops in her ears. Her brown eyes welcomed Lindsay, along with her smile.

“I'm Lindsay!” She returned the wave, nervous, but not as much as she'd expected. Her fear of being discovered wouldn’t leave, but she felt good being a girl, being herself, and it seemed to win out.

“Let me get that dress out of the closet, Jen!” Sarah headed over to grab it.

Thank God I’m not wearing it! Lindsay realized.

“Thanks! So, how do you two know each other?” Jennifer inquired, looking back to Lindsay.

“I live in the area,” she fielded.

“Oh cool. Love that dress! Got some special plans tonight, too?” Jennifer gestured at Lindsay’s appearance.

“Y-yeah, I’ve got this f-family thing I’m going to in a bit. I won’t have time to change later so I wore my dress over here instead,” she shrugged.

“Oh, I see. Well, that sounds like good planning!” she nodded, before her eyes followed Sarah to her closet – and homed in on something inside.

“Hey, whose clothes are those?” she glanced at Sarah with a smirk. “Do you have a boyfriend?” she inquired, moving in for a closer look. Alarmed, Lindsay gazed at the closet to figure out what she'd spotted and saw the small, wheeled suitcase on the floor, its lid unzipped, but closed. Unfortunately, one cuff of Chris’s flannel shirt was hanging out! Christ, how did I miss that? Lindsay marveled.

“God, what have you been doing??” Jennifer laughed.

“Oh, shut up!” Sarah uttered a nervous giggle, a blush invading her face.

“I’m only kidding. I know you don’t have a boyfriend!” she chuckled. “So whose clothes are they?”

“Um, they're my cousin Tim's,” Sarah lied. “His family was here to visit, but he had this interview to get to at the Olympic Club downtown, and he had to wear a coat and tie, so we arranged for him to change in here. Then, his parents wanted pictures downstairs and he forgot his casual stuff when he left.” Sarah shrugged.

Well played, Sarah! Talk about hiding in plain sight! Lindsay relaxed, satisfied that the crisis had passed. “If you'll excuse me, I need to use the bathroom!”

“Go ahead, Linds!!” Sarah glanced at Lindsay as she made her way out of the room. Lindsay could hear the conversation as she walked down the hall and closed the door.

“Wait, they’re Tim’s? You mean gorgeous Tim? The Tim I go to school with? That Tim?” Jennifer gasped.

Well, shit! Someone has a crush! Lindsay rolled her eyes, as she sat to do her business.

“Yeah, that's him.”

“Well, hey, didn't he tell you he's going to be there tonight?! Why don't I bring him his clothes and save him the trouble of coming back here?” Jennifer suggested, obviously hoping to score points with her crush.

You mean take my clothes?? Lindsay sat bolt upright. Holy Mary, mother of God! Sarah, please do something!

“W-well, thanks, but that's really not necessary. He’s coming back tomorrow to pick them up.”

“Oh.” Jennifer sounded as though she might be deflating.

“B-but, I’ll tell you what! We can arrange for you to run into him. All you have to do is coincidentally bring the dress back while he’s here tomorrow!” Sarah tempted her.

“Ooooh! I’ll have to talk to my mother to see if she can drive me over here!” Jennifer enthused. “But if she can--”

“Great!” Sarah blurted.

Sarah, you’re a genius! All you have to do is call her tomorrow to tell her about Tim’s “unfortunate change of plans!” Lindsay was just beginning to sigh with relief when the land line phone rang.

“Could you wait here for just ten seconds, please? I'll be right back! Don't leave yet!” Sarah insisted.

Oh, shit! I'd better get in there quick, just in case- Before Lindsay could pull up her tights, she heard an insistent car horn outside, followed by Jennifer swearing, zipping something, dashing down the stairs, and shouting, “Gotta go! Love ya!” The front door slammed and she was gone.

Chapter 4

Lindsay quickly finished in the bathroom and hurried back to the bedroom. She got to the closet a second after Sarah.

“Oh no!!” Sarah shrieked. “She didn't!!” Sarah stared out the window.

“Ohhhhh, you've got to be kidding.” Lindsay took a slow breath, her eyes riveted to the empty spot where the suitcase had been.

“I can't believe this!” Sarah turned and looked at her, one hand on her forehead, the other on her hip. “I am so sorry, Lindsay! I had to answer the phone because I knew it was my mother calling to check on me, and we’re not telling anyone about this, so everything had to seem normal and--” She waved an arm through the air toward her departed friend. “I really thought she'd wait ten fucking seconds!”

“It's not your fault,” Lindsay assured her, before abruptly gasping. “Oh shit! I've got a huge problem,” she blurted, raising both hands to her forehead, her head tilted back, eyes closed.

“I know, I hate for you to have to walk home that way. Tell you what, when you have to go, I-I'll lend you some jeans and a sweater and I’ll walk with you.”

Lindsay slowly looked over at her. “Sarah, my keys are in my pants.”

Sarah's hands flew up to cover her mouth, her eyes as wide as hula hoops. “Oh no! When are your parents getting home?” She asked through her fingers.

“Not until nine. They went to the Great America amusement park with my little brother and his friends and they’re having dinner down there somewhere. It's an hour drive from here, so they can't just run home – and even if they could, I don’t want them to see me dressed as a girl.”

“Oh no!!” Sarah cried in empathy. “Is there a neighbor or nearby friend who has a key?”

“Yes, but... I can't ring the doorbell as a girl. We’ve known each other forever and they would easily recognize me. I don't want anyone to know about this.” Lindsay sighed. “Shit, I can’t even say this is a Halloween costume because Halloween is almost three weeks away. It’s just too early! There’s no way to explain this!”

“Would they give the key to me?” Sarah wondered aloud.

“No, they would only give it to someone in my family.” Lindsay lamented.

“Ohhhhh boy.” Sarah closed her eyes as she pinched the bridge of her nose. “Did you leave any windows open you could climb into? I could lend you some jeans...”

“No. Half of the ground floor windows are painted shut, and I made sure the rest were closed and latched when I left. There’s no way to reach the second floor ones – and besides, with my luck, someone would call the police if I tried to break in!”

“Oh, God. You really are stuck.” Sarah moved toward Lindsay and wrapped her arms around her, making her heart glow. Lindsay seized the opportunity to hug her in return.

“Looks like I'm going to be dressed as a girl for... well, what time is it?”

“One-thirty.”

“So that makes it seven and a half hours?” Lindsay calculated.

“Oh my God!” Sarah’s head sagged to one side and she bit her lip.

Of course, that part doesn't bother me. Hell, I'm glad for the excuse! I just don't want anyone to know about me.

“Wait, but you're only free until two?” Lindsay remembered.

“Yes, that’s your other huge problem!” Sarah looked at her watch before looking Lindsay in the eyes. “I have three girl friends coming over soon. We’re going to go see the movie Pretty in Pink at the Four Star theater and then we’re having dinner here.”

“Oh no! Can we play hooky?” Lindsay ventured.

“I’m afraid not! I can’t tell them I’m sick because I really was sick the last two times my friends got together! Plus, two of them called before you got here to make sure I’m healthy this time and I promised I was and told them to come!” Sarah threw up her arms. “If I tried to cancel, they would know something’s going on, so...” She shrugged helplessly. “I can’t get out of my plans!”

“Oh no!” Lindsay took a breath and sighed. “Well, Sarah, I’m just going to have to join you at the movies and dinner here and just... wait until my parents get home. I have no choice! I mean... I really don’t want anyone to know about this, but... there’s nothing I can do about it. My keys are gone and I’ll have to ring the doorbell to get into the house.”

“Okay, well, you do realize that this means being dressed as a girl in public?” Sarah warned.

“Of course! But what else can I do?” Lindsay responded.

“Nothing that I can come up with. Well, we can at least get you changed into something more casual.” Sarah looked at me with sympathy. “I’m sorry, I feel like this is my fault. If I hadn’t forgotten about Jennifer then you wouldn’t be in this mess! I could have, at least, zipped the fucking suitcase shut! You could have changed back already!”

“Please don’t blame yourself. This whole thing was my idea.” Lindsay shrugged.

“You’re so nice!” Sarah smiled warmly.

“Well, I try.” Lindsay smiled as her eyes wandered out the window and her lips babbled. “A lot of the guys at my school are such jerks and I don’t want to be like that. I don’t know why they have to be that way. I don’t know if that’s just what happens at an all-boys school or if that’s how boys are for some stupid reason, but... God, what in the hell am I doing at an all-boys school anyway?” She chuckled.

“What do you mean? You’re a boy!” Sarah giggled.

Lindsay whirled around to face Sarah, her breath catching in her throat, her smile gone. Shit!! Why in the fuck did I just say that?! Did I just give myself away?? “Uh... I-I mean I’d rather be at a co-ed school, you know?” She shrugged. “Because I like girls?” She eyed Sarah carefully to see how she would react. Thankfully, she laughed, seeming to dismiss it.

“Oh, I see. Well, we’d better get you changed before the other girls get here,” she tittered, heading for her closet. “We can’t tell them you’re going to a family thing, like you did with Jennifer, because you’re going to be with us all night. So, I think it would be best not to make them wonder why you’re wearing that formal dress.”

“Yeah, I guess so!” Lindsay uttered a rueful chuckle. Jesus!! This is going so wrong!!

Sarah returned from her closet, tossing onto her bed a white, scoop-neck top with short sleeves and a forest green cardigan. She approached Lindsay with something behind her back, her devilish smile taking over her face. “So, do you want to switch to jeans or...” she held up the grey, cotton, pleated, knee-length skirt she was hiding, “you could just wear this over those tights,” she giggled. “They’ll be here soon, so you’d better-”

The doorbell rang, heralding the second cosmic surprise of the day. Lindsay’s mouth began to dry, her heart speeding up. Sarah’s head sagged backward as she rolled her eyes in irritation. “Shit! Who’s early??” She lay the skirt on the bed and raised her hands in a conciliatory gesture. “I was kidding about the skirt, really! Let me just get her something to drink in the kitchen and I’ll pretend to go to the bathroom and we’ll change you into jeans, okay?” The doorbell rang again and Sarah headed for the front door.

“Okay!” Lindsay tried to smile as Sarah hurried downstairs. She listened intently as Sarah crossed the foyer and opened the front door. “Hi-Sarah-can-I-please-use-your-bathroom-before-I-burst?!” someone giggled, before she bee-lined for the stairs.

Damn it!! I can’t change in front of her and she’s using the bathroom and I can’t make it to another room!! I don’t even have the jeans yet!! Aw, shit!! Nothing is going right!! Lindsay worried. Looking at the clothes on the bed, she flung her hands behind her to unzip her dress, spinning around, searching for a place to hang it as she worked on the zipper. Stepping out of it, she grabbed the padded hanger from the inside of the closet door, put the dress on the hanger and returned the hanger to the hook. She looked in Sarah’s closet for jeans but saw none. Running quietly over to the bed, she slipped on the skirt, thankful it had a simple, elastic waist, and a tag in back so she’d get it right. This is getting way out of hand! Lindsay stewed, pulling on the white top, careful not to muss her hair, and following it with the cardigan. She ran to Sarah’s closet to look at her shoes and noticed a pair of cute black, leather, ballet flats. Lindsay quickly slipped them on, leaving the patent shoes in the closet. Frantically, she darted for the couch, grabbed the catalog, and sat down. She had just enough time to pick up the catalog before a pretty, green-eyed redhead passed the room and stuck her head in long enough to say hello before darting to the bathroom laughing.

Checking to see if we're the first to arrive, are we?

Sarah shot into the room with a concerned look etched on her face until she saw Lindsay, already changed, sitting on her couch and sporting a harried smile. Sarah took a big, silent breath, smiled at Lindsay and started giggling. “Sorry about that! Stand up quick!” she whispered as she approached.

“She’s nuts!” Lindsay mouthed, dropping the catalog on the couch and standing.

“Um, yeah, she’s a handful! But she makes us laugh!” Sarah whispered as she quickly tucked in Lindsay’s white top, smoothed her cardigan, and removed her velvet head band. She went to her dresser, swapped the velvet headband for a black, leather one, and put it in Lindsay’s hair. Making one more trip to the dresser, she grabbed a silver heart pendant on a matching chain and put it around Lindsay’s neck. “Okay, that should do it. Let’s sit.” They flopped down on the couch and Lindsay grabbed the catalog to flip it to somewhere in the casual section. Soon, Sarah’s friend sauntered into the room, laughing at her own antics.

“That was close! I almost peed my pants!” she giggled, sitting on the bed. “I knew I shouldn’t have had that Coke in the car!”

“Well, I’m really glad you made it to the toilet!” Sarah chuckled. “Jessica, this is Lindsay. Lindsay, this is Jessica.”

“Hi!” Lindsay smiled.

“Nice to meet you!” Jessica returned the gesture. “So, you don’t go to our school. How did you two meet?”

“I live nearby, and uh...” Lindsay wondered if she should be sharing that information. Well, I’d better not lie too much. “...w-we met at a party.”

“Oh, cool! That’s always a good way to meet friends!” Jessica smiled.

“Yes, it works really well.” Sarah agreed.

The doorbell rang again, and Sarah rose to let her next friend in. Meanwhile, Lindsay chatted with Jessica about family and school. Thankfully, she didn’t ask which one Lindsay attended.

“Hi, ladies!” the brunette smiled, striding into the room just ahead of Sarah. Her chocolate brown hair was done in a single braid and her large eyes were a similar shade of brown. She wore a multi-colored sweater, denim skirt and white tights. Oh, good. I’m not the only one in tights! Lindsay smiled.

“Lindsay, this is Liz. Liz, this is Lindsay.” Sarah introduced, reclaiming her seat on the couch.

“Hi Liz! Nice to meet you!” Lindsay greeted.

“Likewise!” Liz smiled back. “Say, do I know you? I could swear I’ve seen you before!”

“Um... w-well, this town is smaller than people think, so, that could be, I guess,” Lindsay hedged.

“Huh. Okay. Well!” She addressed the group as she sat on the bed. “Ladies, wait ‘til you see these photographs of my new puppy!” She beamed, doing a happy dance and pulling the pictures out of an envelope. She handed them to Sarah, who began to pass them around. The room was immediately filled with squeals of delight. “Awww, it’s so cute! Is it a boy or a girl?” Jessica inquired.

“It’s a girl.” Liz answered.

Jessica handed the first photo to Lindsay, who saw a picture of a Yorkie puppy wagging its tail for the camera. “Awww, she really is adorable!” Lindsay exclaimed, drawing a funny look from Sarah. “What’s her name?”

“Frida.”

“I like that name!” Lindsay smiled.

“Me, too!” Liz’s eyes got big as she grinned. Sarah guffawed as she looked at the next photo, followed closely by Jessica. When Lindsay was handed the photo, she saw Frida sitting with her tongue hanging out one side of her snout and laughed out loud.

The next picture showed Frida standing on her hind legs.

“Awww! I wish I had a puppy! How long have you had her?” Lindsay gushed, momentarily freezing in surprise at her reaction. Well, hey, if there was ever a time to stop filtering my reactions and be myself, this is it!

“Three weeks.”

“Breeder or shelter?” Jess wondered aloud.

“Breeder. It’s my first puppy and I wanted to make sure I got one I can handle!” Liz giggled.

“That is a smart idea.” Lindsay nodded her approval.

The rest of the photos showed Frida doing various things from begging for a belly rub to balancing a treat on her snout. Each one brought fresh squeals from the girls - including Lindsay, who reveled in her freedom from her self-censoring. For once, she could react with complete authenticity. God, this feels wonderful! I don’t want it to end! Lindsay saw Sarah throw her another glance or two, thankfully unnoticed by the others.

Finally, the doorbell rang again, announcing the arrival of Sarah’s remaining guest. Sarah rose and left the room to admit her friend. Meanwhile, Liz asked how Lindsay and Sarah met and Lindsay recited her stock answer, her unease growing as she repeated it. They wouldn’t ask for my address, would they? God, just think what would happen if they stopped by looking for a girl named Lindsay! Mercifully, the conversation drifted back to the Yorkie puppy and Lindsay was able to fade into the background.

“Hey, everyone.” The blue-eyed honey blonde in a white sweater and jeans gave a half-hearted wave as she trudged into the room and flopped down at the foot of the bed. She looked depressed about something.

“Hey, Claire!” Liz and Jessica chorused.

“What’s the matter?” Liz inquired.

“Oh, I just had a fight with my little sister. We both have a crush on the same boy.“ A collective groan arose from the group as Claire swooned over her love. “He’s cute, he’s an insanely good soccer player, he’s smart, he’s everything – and I told my sister to stay away from him because I already had a crush on him long before she even noticed him, so why doesn’t she find someone else, you know?”

“Yyyyyyyup.” Jessica sympathized. “You’ve got yourself a genuine sibling rivalry going on there – and it’s the worst when you like the same boy! If she doesn’t stop, twist her nipple!” That got a few giggles. “It worked on my sister!”

“How old is your sister, Claire?” Lindsay asked.

“Twelve.”

“And the boy?” Lindsay probed.

“Fifteen.”

“Mmmm hmmm. I see how it is.” Lindsay shrugged. “I can tell you actually like who he is – and your sister might, too, but—“

“No, she doesn’t! She just...“ Claire trailed off.

“She just wants an impressive boyfriend to brag about to her friends?” Lindsay finished for her.

“Yes!” Claire agreed.

“And a fifteen-year-old boyfriend would be very impressive to her twelve-year-old friends, right?” Lindsay continued. “We all know how this works.” Another collective groan was uttered as the girls empathized. “And that kind of competition for someone you really like totally sucks – especially from your own sister!” Lindsay finished, rolling her eyes.

Yes!!” Claire shrieked, clearly feeling vindicated.

“I’m Lindsay, by the way.” she smiled.

“Nice to meet you – especially since you understand!”

“Yes, I do understand.” Lindsay nodded with confidence.

Sarah stared at Lindsay with her eyes open as wide as they would go. Lindsay caught a glimpse of her expression and wondered if she might have crossed a line, but which one she could not fathom. She had understood things just as a girl would, because she was a girl, and she knew she hadn’t committed any social faux pas of which she was aware. Hmmmm. I wonder what her problem is?

The chatting flowed amiably for the next half an hour. Lindsay, despite trying to hold back somewhat, continued to demonstrate an intuitive familiarity of things that only a girl would be expected to understand. She continued to catch Sarah staring at her dumbfounded. By what miracle the other girls failed to pick up on this – or its significance - Lindsay had no idea, but she counted herself blessed. Then, Sarah stood, put one hand on Lindsay’s shoulder, and in a whisper, asked her to come to the bathroom. Lindsay’s eyebrows jumped up in wonder, but she rose to follow.

“We’ll be right back, ladies! Make yourselves at home!” Sarah smiled at them, but Lindsay detected something behind the expression, some kind of discomfort or uncertainty.

“Er, yeah! We won’t be long! Show Claire those puppy photos!” Lindsay tried to smile herself, at least until they were out of view. Once they departed the room and turned left, Sarah grabbed her wrist and half-dragged her to the bathroom, ushered her inside, and closed the door behind them. For several moments, Sarah stood there staring at Lindsay, her eyebrows raised, her head cocked to one side, left hand on her right elbow and right index finger upon her lips.

“How?” Sarah uttered.

“How...?” Lindsay tried.

“How can you possibly be so... so... unbelievably...” Sarah began.

“Unbelievably... w-what?” Lindsay worried.

“Unbelievably... believable as a girl! How?” Sarah demanded, her arms flailing, making Lindsay uneasy. Before she could answer, Sarah continued, playing a disturbing card. “Are you a boy pretending to be a girl or... a girl pretending to be a boy? For real? What the hell is going on?”

Lindsay swallowed as she worked to maintain her composure. This started out so harmless. All I wanted to do was be myself for a little while... then Jennifer stopped by... then she stole my clothes... then Jessica, Liz, and Claire came... then I was just being myself... my real self—

“Talk to me, damn it!” Sarah pleaded. “I need to understand! Y-you’re a boy! How can you possibly understand everything we’ve been talking about? How?”

Oh, my God, I’m going to have to tell her the truth! Jesus! When I came over today, I never expected to come out! Another cosmic surprise. But I don’t see any other way. Besides, I don’t want to lie. That’s the whole point of finding a way to be myself – so I don’t have to fucking lie anymore! Lindsay took a slow breath. God in heaven, help me!

“Well?” Sarah prodded.

“I’m a girl... pretending to be a boy.” Lindsay admitted.

“Whoa, what?? I was kidding about that!! What do you mean??” Sarah queried, taken aback. Lindsay took another long breath before continuing.

“This may be hard to understand. In fact, I’ve never heard of anyone else like me.” She took another breath. “I don’t know how it happened, but... all I know is... when I was born, my brain and my heart were made for a little girl. My... crotch... was built for a boy. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I just know that... my body is all wrong. Everybody thinks I’m a boy, including my doctor and my family, because my crotch was built for a boy. But I’m not a boy! Boys make no sense to me! Girls make sense to me!”

“Can that... really happen?”

“It did happen! It happened to me! I’ve never heard of anyone else like me, but there must be others! I can’t be the only one!”

“Have you told your parents about this?”

“No! How could I do that? My parents bring everything to my pediatrician and he’s an old man from a country that doesn’t think too highly of women! Worse than our country, I mean! He would probably tell me to man up! My parents would probably listen to him instead of me. Like I said, I’ve never heard of anyone else being like me. So what am I supposed to do?” Lindsay wailed, trying to hold back the tears that had been fighting to push their way out all day. As her eyes leaked, she moved to the toilet paper roll and tore off a length. She began to dry her face, struggling to hold it all in before giving up and crying.

For several tense moments, the bathroom was silent, other than Lindsay’s sobbing. Sarah took a breath and put her arms around Lindsay. “I believe you. I mean, there’s no way you were just... acting in there. You understood! I think you’ve got to be right. Your brain and your heart were made for a girl! I don’t know how it’s possible, but then I don’t know how it’s possible that there’s a God and I believe that, too. I guess it boils down to intuition. Mine says that there is a God who gave you the brain and the heart of a girl, but the crotch of a boy – for whatever screwy reason.”

“What’s going to happen to me when I hit puberty? I don’t want to turn into a man! Not any more than you would. I mean, can you imagine your arms and legs getting hairy and a beard growing on your face and your muscles getting bulky and your voice cracking and... what’s going to happen to me?” Lindsay lost it again and continued to let her emotions vent freely, still feeling incredibly liberated, if terrified.

“Oh, wow. That would totally freak me out!”

“Well, me, too! I hate having to man up all the time! Why can’t I just be me without anyone having a fit?”

The conversation paused until a thought crossed Sarah’s mind. “So when you asked me to dress you up... it wasn’t for a Halloween costume was it?” she guessed.

“No, it wasn’t. I wanted to be myself before I go crazy, even if only for a little while. I’ve been afraid to tell anyone about me, so... the Halloween costume was my cover story.”

“Well, that’s okay. I can understand that.” Sarah assured.

They fell silent while Sarah held Lindsay. Finally, Lindsay managed to wrestle her emotions under control. She grabbed more toilet paper to begin cleaning herself up, moistening the last of it under the sink before finishing her cleanup job.

“It’s probably a good thing I’m not wearing makeup!” She kidded, winning a giggle from Sarah.

“Yeah, it’s actually a good thing I didn’t have time to give you a makeover!”

“Well, I’m fine without one. This day has been complicated enough—“

Before Lindsay could finish her thought, a soft knock emanated from the door.

“Hey, are you two okay?” Jessica asked.

Lindsay opened the door to respond. “Yes, we’re fine. Just having some one-on-one girl talk.”

“Can I pee then?” Jessica half-joked.

“Again??” Sarah chuckled, following Lindsay into the hallway.

“It was a big coke!” Jessica laughed before disappearing into the bathroom and closing the door. Shaking her head, Sarah turned to head for her room, but Lindsay put a hand on her upper arm, making her turn around with a questioning look. Lindsay held up her extended index finger as she studied the bathroom door, waiting for Jessica to emerge. Before long, the toilet flushed, the sink ran, the sink shut off, and Jessica opened the door, stopping in her tracks when she saw the two girls waiting for her.

“What’s up, doctresses?” she kidded.

“Um, Jessica?” Lindsay glanced at Sarah before returning her attention to the redhead. “How much of our conversation did you hear?”

Sarah blanched as though the thought hadn’t crossed her mind.

“Just something about Sarah not having time to give you a makeover and today being complicated enough.” She shrugged, shifting her gaze between them. “Why? What’s been happening?”

“You don’t want to know.” Lindsay answered, trying not to show her relief.

“Yeah, you really don’t. You wouldn’t believe it if we told you, anyway!” Sarah tried to back up Lindsay.

“Really??” Jessica crossed her arms. “Sounds like some juicy girl talk to me!!” She made her eyebrows dance.

“Not this time, Jess!” Sarah instructed with a stern look. “What we were talking about was Lindsay’s private business, okay?” Her eyes commanded capitulation.

“Okay, okay! Keep your panties on!” Jess held up her hands as though Sarah were pointing a gun at her.

“Come on!” Sarah smirked, hooking one arm in Jess’s and the other in Lindsay’s, steering them toward her room.

“Hey, Linds, have you been crying?” Jess interrogated in a low voice.

“Jess? Private, remember?” Sarah rolled her eyes.

“Yes! I remember!” Jess gave in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long after they rejoined the group for the questions to start flying.

“What took you guys so long?” Liz asked innocently.

Sarah started to answer but Jess cut her off. “I don’t know, but it’s juicy!” she teased, making her eyebrows dance again.

“Jess!” Sarah warned.

Okay! I’m backing off.” Jess acquiesced.

“Hold on, now. What’s going on?” Liz intervened.

“Look, Lindsay and I were just talking about Lindsay’s very private business – of which even I would not be aware had today not been so... fucked up.” Sarah insisted. “Let’s give the poor girl some privacy, okay?”

“We’re your friends, Sarah!” Liz was taken aback. “If you can’t trust us, who can you trust?” Liz looked at Lindsay. “That goes for you, too! You cheered up Claire, and anyone who cheers up a best friend is a best friend. So we are your best friends! Right, everyone?”

The others agreed with her on that last point, making Lindsay want to cry.

“Really?” Lindsay blurted.

“Of course.” Liz confirmed. Sarah, worried about the pressure being put on Liz, tried to put a stop to it. “Liz, unless you want me to tell everyone about—“

“No, no, no, no, no! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Don’t say it! Please don’t say it!” Liz yielded.

“I didn’t think so!” Sarah eyed her with her arms crossed. “Lindsay’s private business stays private. Everyone got that?” She looked around the room with a face that wasn’t about to argue the point.

“Awwww!” Jess whined, giggling.

Why, you nosy little bitch!

“Hey, I bet you have secrets!” Lindsay turned on her.

“Who... me?” Jess asked, clearly not wanting something revealed.

“Alright then! Quit asking for mine!” Lindsay ordered.

“Point taken.” Jess deferred.

“Wait a minute!” Liz interjected. “Do we all have secrets from each other? How can we call ourselves best friends?”

For several moments, the girls looked around the room at each other, but none spoke. Lindsay sensed something cosmic coming her way. Taking a breath, she opened her mouth.

“You just want to know what Sarah and I were discussing in the bathroom, don’t you?” she asked.

“True,” Liz admitted, “but it’s not just that. I know I didn’t want Sarah to say what she almost said about me, because it is embarrassing, but... I mean, you can’t have secrets from your best friends.”

Oh, man! What’s going to happen here? Lindsay worried.

“So, how come only Sarah knows what she knows about you, Liz – and what she knows about you, Linds?” Jess wondered aloud.

“Because she’s trustworthy?” Lindsay blurted, effectively shutting Jess down.

“That and she was there when I did it, so it’s not like I only told her, it’s just... I swore her to secrecy.” Liz defended herself.

“Same here.” Lindsay added. “Exactly the same here!”

“Seriously, guys, what do you think? Shouldn’t we get rid of all of our secrets? I think we should! Right now!” Liz polled her nervous friends. And there it was. Yet another cosmic surprise. Oh no! Am I going to have to come out to the whole group now? Yes, I think I am! God help me!

“I guess I have to agree that there should be no secrets between best friends.” Lindsay offered. “I mean, best friends are supposed to be able to tell each other everything.” Not that her integrity kept her climbing heart rate any lower.

“Linds? Are you sure about this?” Sarah verified.

“Well, no, but... you guys just accepted me as one of your best friends, and... I’ve never had friends like that before because... because of my secret. Maybe it’s worth it... I mean... if you guys can even believe it.” Lindsay watched her hands play with each other. “So, yeah, I want to share.”

“I’m not sure I do,” Claire admitted.

“Well, look at it this way. After I share my secret... the rest of you will find it easy to share yours. I can just about guarantee that,” Lindsay insisted.

“I can vouch for that,” Sarah agreed, with her hand raised as though she had a question. The room was quiet as Sarah looked over at Lindsay.

“If you’re sure about this, Lindsay, then, I’ll share my secret, too.”

Every other girl in the room immediately agreed to do the same.

“Okay, then. What I am about to say cannot leave this room. Please listen until I’m done explaining it, because this is going to be hard.” Lindsay paused, looking around the silent room before she began to explain to them what she’d told Sarah in the bathroom. Beginning with her description of how she’d been born, she revealed the real reason she’d asked to get together with Sarah and related everything that had happened. Finally, she finished, and the room was silent.

“Wait. Let me get this straight. You... are a boy?” Liz queried. “Wait, that’s not right. You... have a... penis?”

“Yes. And I hate it more and more every day.” Lindsay lamented.

“So... does your birth certificate say you’re a boy?” Jess wondered.

“Yes, it does. But it’s wrong.” Lindsay explained. “When I was born, the doctors saw the penis and... they just assumed... but they were wrong. Obviously, my parents believed the doctors. When I was born, there was nothing to say otherwise.”

“But everybody was wrong.” Claire ventured.

“Totally wrong.” Lindsay confirmed.

“How have your parents not seen this? I mean, I had no idea you were anything but a girl! Haven’t they noticed the way you seem to automatically understand everything about our world?” Liz pondered.

“Well, I don’t exactly share what I observe about our world, you know. I’ve been too afraid to be myself around anyone. I mean, I thought sure half of you would freak out about me and maybe call the police to report a pervert or something. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”

“I believe you.” Liz smiled.

“So do I.” “Me, too.” Sarah had already told Lindsay she believed her. It was unanimous!

“Thanks, everyone! It feels good to finally tell someone – and it feels really good to finally be myself!” Lindsay grinned, her eyes leaking.

“Awwww!!” All four girls surrounded Lindsay with a big group hug, bringing more tears to her eyes.

“Okay, everyone. Let’s give the lady some breathing room!” Sarah suggested. The group hug ended, and everyone sat down.

“Thanks for that! So, now that I’ve gotten rid of my secret, at least between us, who’s going next?” Lindsay looked around the room.

“I’ll go next.” Liz volunteered. Jess and Claire looked distinctly relieved – for now. “You’re right, Linds. This is a lot easier now!” she laughed, getting the whole room started. “Okay, so, what Sarah was referring to about me was that...” Liz sighed. “...last week, she caught me drinking rum at the party with a couple of other girls.” A collective gasp filled the room. “Actually, I wasn’t just drinking. I was drunk. I know, it was stupid. I guess I thought it would be cool or something – but it wasn’t cool. I barfed in the gardenias. I’ve probably killed them!” she laughed, again setting off the whole group. “God, this is embarrassing. But hey, no secrets between best friends! Who’s next?”

“I’ll go next,” Sarah volunteered. “I will start by agreeing this is easier now,” she laughed. Then Lindsay giggled, and the rest joined her.
“Anyway, my secret is really simple. I’m gay.” Sarah shrugged, grabbed Lindsay and kissed her smack on the lips. That won another collective gasp.

“Sarah, really? I had no idea!” Liz marveled.

“Really, Liz, why did you think I would turn down Thomas Gardiner when he asked me out at the party, like, right in front of you?” Sarah blurted. “He’s only everything a girl wants! Well, a straight girl, anyway!”

“Oh my God, he’s the one I have a crush on!” Claire laughed nervously.

“See?” Sarah self-corroborated. “Girls like him.”

“I guess I thought you had a crush on someone else, Sarah.” Liz conceded.

“Well... I do.” Sarah looked over at Lindsay. “It developed the second I saw her dressed as a girl! I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about myself before that. At first – well, sorry, Linds, but I thought that you were what you appeared to be, the way you were dressed at the party, and-“

“That’s why I know you!” Liz put it together. “You were at the party!”

“And, apparently, I’m very oblivious. I had no idea any of this was happening around me!” she laughed, setting off a fresh round of giggles.

“Anyway, so yeah, at the party, Lindsay seemed really nice – and adventurous – so I did like her right away, and of course I agreed to dress her up, but the crush started later, after she was dressed up. As soon as I saw her dressed as a girl, I wished, right away, that she could have been a girl. When she told me that she is one, that was it!”

Lindsay smiled brightly before speaking her mind. “So that was why you needed to know how I understood everything we’ve been talking about!”

“Yes!” Sarah agreed.

“Well, I have a crush on you, too, just so you know! I have for over a year! We always drive by your house on the way to ours, and I’ve seen you outside your house many times. Then there have been the times when I’ve gone by your house on my bike and I’ve seen you out front. Then, of course, we’ve trick-or-treated at each other’s homes on Halloween. But, anyway, I’ve always thought you were cute and, you were always laughing about something. You seemed fun and, I don’t know, there was always just... something I liked about you! Then, one year, we passed on the sidewalk while trick-or-treating on Halloween and you were dressed as Penny from The Rescuers. Naturally, I always loved Penny because I always identified with needing to be rescued, in my own way, so when I saw you in that costume, that was it for me.” Lindsay finished.

“Awwwwwww!” Three voices squealed in near perfect unison, making them all laugh. Sarah hugged Lindsay again, and of course Lindsay responded likewise.

“Okay, who’s next?” Sarah gently probed. “We’ll need to leave for the movie soon, so we’d better finish this up!”

Oh yeah, the movie!

“I guess I’ll go next,” Jess resigned. “Well... this is awkward,” she began. Her characteristic impish personality disappeared as she prepared to share her secret. “So, earlier, I was talking about my younger sister when I was talking about sibling rivalry. Well, this one kind of involves my older sister. She’s four years older, to be exact. This was a little less than a year ago. My family and I were up at Tahoe. The population up there is a small fraction of what it is here. Sometimes, my older sister and I would drive over to the supermarket, just the two of us, and, uh... she would let me drive the car around the supermarket parking lot. Only if it was pretty empty, but she would. It’s an ’83 Subaru GL wagon. It’s pretty small and it’s an automatic, not a stick, so it’s pretty easy to learn.” She looked around at her friends, who sat there rapt. “Well, one time, I was home alone, up there at Tahoe. We were renting a home up there near a large stretch of woods. My family went out walking that Saturday, but I had a nasty cold, so I stayed home, and, uh... I got bored.” She took a deep breath. “I really wanted a cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any. Well...” She took another deep breath, studying her friends’ faces. “I knew my family would be out for another hour and I saw the car keys sitting there on the kitchen counter. So... I grabbed the keys, put my coat on, got in the car, started it up, and drove a mile to the 7-Eleven out near the main road so I could buy some hot chocolate. It was really stupid of me, but at least I made it home without incident. My family never suspected a thing.”

Liz smacked the back of her head. “Don’t you ever do that again! You could have gotten somebody killed!”

“I know. I won’t ever do that again.” Jess became emotional.

“Hey, we still love you, you know that right?” Liz reassured her.

“I know!” Jess smiled shyly.

“Good.” Liz looked over at the only girl who had yet to share her secret. “Okay, Claire, it’s your turn.”

Claire sighed and nodded. “Well, here I go!” She paused before starting in. “So, everybody has been hearing about this crush I have had on Thomas Gardiner, for like two years, and that crush is the reason I got in a fight with my sister today, right?” She looked around as they nodded. “Well, it’s all bullshit. I do not have a crush on Thomas Gardiner.” Every pair of eyes was on her, and every eyebrow was raised high. “My real crush is on Samantha Gardiner, his younger sister!” A terrific blush exploded on her face.

“Once again, I had no idea!” Liz exclaimed.

“Well, I did put a shitload of effort into hiding myself.” Claire conceded.

“So, why the fight with your sister?” Jess wondered.

“Simple. My bullshit crush on Thomas is my way of convincing everyone that I like boys. If he picks up a girlfriend, well, then there goes my cover. I mean, I suppose he probably wouldn’t go for a twelve-year-old, but... I need that cover! I’m a lesbian! I do not want to pick out another boy to have a bullshit crush on!”

“That sounds kind of like me picking out which corduroys to wear to school in the morning. Oh, joy, corduroy!” Lindsay joked, breaking up the group into fits of laughter.

“Exactly!” Claire agreed vehemently.

“Mmm hmm. Well, now that we’ve all gotten rid of our secrets, I think we need a group hug.” Lindsay proposed, not bothering to wait for the others to agree before standing up and holding out her arms.

“Yes!” The others joined in quickly.

“No more secrets between best friends!” Liz pronounced.

“No more!” Lindsay agreed.

After the hug ended, Sarah glanced at her watch.

“Hey, we have to leave for the movie in, like, five minutes!” she gasped.

Lindsay swallowed involuntarily. Shit! What do I do?

“Do you feel okay with that, Lindsay? We can see that movie another time.” Sarah offered.

“Yeah, we don’t have to go tonight.” Liz concurred.

“Where is it playing again?” Lindsay asked. “I mean, for starters, are we walking or is there a bus ride involved?”

“It’s playing right down at the Four Star.” Sarah volunteered. “So it’s only just a few blocks away. No public bus!”

“Well... what if... what if I want to go? Pretty in Pink sounds like a really good movie.” Lindsay ventured. “I love John Hughes movies!”

“Then... we can go.” Sarah started. “Just... be sure that it’s what you want. I mean, there are no guarantees.”

“I know. But, at the same time, this is a chance to be myself out there! How great would that be??” Lindsay marveled. “Sure, it’s kind of scary, but... I want to try it. I really do.”

“Okay, then. If you’re sure!” Sarah shrugged, smiling at Lindsay.

“I’m sure! Let’s do this!” Lindsay smiled back at Sarah, who moved toward her for a hug.

“Alright, everyone! Let’s grab our coats!” Liz clapped her hands together. “I think this’ll be fun!”

And with that, they were off. Lindsay felt nervous on the way out the door, especially after Sarah locked it behind them, but she also felt the freedom to stop acting like a boy and be herself, even in public. It is going to be really hard to go back to being a boy... whenever that happens.

Chapter 5

The walk to the movie theater was short and uneventful, but very pleasant for Lindsay, despite the nerve that refused to go away. She felt very apprehensive once they approached the box office, but she held back with the group while Liz bought the tickets and nobody paid her any attention. The walk back was easier, since the whole group began chatting about the movie on their way out of the theater and that provided a much needed distraction from the circumstances. Lindsay’s next cosmic surprise didn’t happen until they reached Sarah’s house. That was when a car pulled into the driveway, blocking their path to the front door. Jennifer got out, wearing Sarah’s little black dress, sheer, black tights, and a fancy hairdo.

“Hey, Sarah! I’m glad I caught you! Hi, girls!” Opening the back door, she pulled out a small suitcase-on-wheels and set it down on the sidewalk, extended its handle and wheeled it up to Sarah. “So, I went to fold up these clothes nicely before I gave them to Tim, and I could tell they’re way too small! Why did you tell me these are Tim’s?” she demanded, relinquishing the suitcase to Sarah.

“Um, well...” Sarah tried to think fast. She accepted the suitcase from Jennifer, trying not to appear overeager about it. She glanced at Lindsay, who was standing next to her, and Jennifer’s observant eyes did a double-take as they spotted her. Lindsay’s eyes widened as she realized the fresh hell she was now facing.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” Jennifer asked. “Lindsay, right? Didn’t you have a family thing?”

Sarah’s face drained of color as she stared at Lindsay, having no idea what to say this time. Lindsay, meanwhile, took a deep breath and started talking. “There was no family thing. The clothes in the suitcase are mine.” She glanced over at Sarah to find her biting her lip. “After I got here earlier, Sarah triple-dog dared me to dress up as a girl, and, well, I wasn’t going to back down from such a dare, so I went through with it. But I didn’t want anyone to know about it, so we cooked up the story about the family thing to explain why I was wearing a formal dress. But then you saw my clothes in Sarah’s closet and-”

“And I forgot that my cousin Tim is bigger than Lindsay.” Sarah interrupted.

“Then you stole my clothes, thinking they were Tim’s, so... I got stuck in a dress. Then, Sarah told me that all of these lovely ladies were coming over to go see a movie and I didn’t want to be a party pooper, so...” Lindsay shrugged. “I went to the movies with them. Now, here we are.”

“So, why the skirt and tights? You could have just gone with jeans, you know!” Jennifer giggled.

“Well, three of these girls didn’t know what was going on at first, and Jess came early, desperate for a bathroom. So, when Sarah answered the door for her, she came straight upstairs. I was forced to throw on whatever I could grab. I couldn’t find Sarah’s jeans, but what I’m wearing was on the bed and fresh.”

“I see!” Jennifer smirked at Lindsay. “So, is Lindsay really your name?”

“It’s my middle name. My first name,” she sighed, “is Chris.”

“Well, I guess it does make more sense to have used your middle name while you were out.” Jennifer acknowledged.

“Yup. Well, anyway, you probably need to get to your club, so we should let you go, but... please don’t mention this to your mother?” Lindsay requested.

“Yeah, just... tell her I mixed up my cousins, okay? I’ve been known to do that.” Sarah offered.

“Please do! This is hard enough!” Lindsay finished.

“I will.” Jennifer smiled. “Well, gotta go! Bye!”

“Bye!” Sarah and Lindsay waved to her as she got back in the car, and her mother drove away.”

“Oh, boy!” Lindsay muttered. “Well, at least that solves one problem!”

“What’s that?” Jess had to know.

“My keys are in my pants and my family is out of the house until nine!” Lindsay told her. “So, I was locked out of my house.”

Sarah gasped. “Now you can get back in!” She started to smile, but her smile faded when she noticed that Lindsay’s had disappeared.

“Let’s go inside. I’m getting cold.” Lindsay mumbled.

“Good idea!” Sarah agreed, digging her key out of her coat pocket, and leading the way up the front stairs.

Chapter 6

Lindsay was the last one to walk back into Sarah’s room. When she did, she wheeled the suitcase into the center, let go of it, and took a step back. For several moments, she stood there, staring at it, wishing it would simply disappear forever, taking her life as a boy with it.

“Inside that suitcase is a one-way ticket back to boyhood.” Lindsay lamented, her voice beginning to falter. Sarah came over to her and wrapped her arms around her from behind.

“Maybe it’s time to share this with your parents. You will have to at some point, right? It might as well be now.” Sarah suggested.

“The sooner I tell them, the sooner I can start living as a girl, right?” Lindsay supposed. She looked over her right shoulder at Sarah, turned around, and hugged her.

"Exactly." Sarah nodded.

“You’re right. I have to tell them. Especially now that I’ve seen a bit of how my life could be! I can’t keep pretending!” Lindsay looked Sarah in the eyes.

“That’s my girl!” Sarah smiled.

“Are you going to tell them tonight?” Liz asked.

“Well, my brother’s friends are sleeping over, so it won’t be a very good time... but I won’t wait too long. Tomorrow or Monday tops. Trust me, it will be too hard being a boy to wait long,” Lindsay shrugged.

“Lindsay, honey, you are a very sweet, considerate person, but this is really important! I think you should talk to your parents tonight. Maybe not the minute they walk in the door, but you should tell them tonight.” Sarah urged.

“Right again.” Lindsay acknowledged.

“So you’ll tell them tonight?” Sarah checked.

“Yes. Tonight.” Lindsay smiled.

“Good. So now,” Sarah released the hug to check her watch, “it is just after six o’clock. My mother will be home in about half an hour. As much as I hate to say this, you need to think about whether you want her to see your true self when she gets here.”

“Hmmm.” Lindsay stared at the suitcase in the middle of the room as though it were a ticking bomb. Yet, she knew what she had to do. “It might not be right to come out to her before my own parents. I mean, they might... need a chance to digest all of this before I come out to anyone else.” Lindsay flashed a pained smile.

“Yeah, I figured.” Sarah squeezed Lindsay’s shoulder.

“Oh, God, I forgot! My parents are calling to check on me at about six-thirty - and now that I have my keys back, I can actually take the call, so... I have to go home.” Lindsay murmured. “Shit!” She put her hands on her hips, staring at the suitcase again. “Well, here I go.”

“You’re very courageous, do you know that?” Sarah smiled at her, clearly impressed.

“Really? Thanks!” Lindsay smiled, pausing as she dragged the suitcase to the door.

“Yes, you are!” Liz agreed, the others nodding in agreement.

“Yeah, I guess I am!” Lindsay’s smile intensified. “Well, time’s running out here, so... I have to change now.”

“Okay, go ahead!” Sarah sent her off to the bathroom.

Lindsay changed slowly, and put Sarah’s clothes back in the suitcase as carefully as she knew how. After she finished changing back, she decided not to look at her reflection in the full-length mirror. Instead, she dragged the suitcase back to Sarah’s room and handed it over.

“You know, you still look like a girl!” Liz commented.

“She’s right, Lindsay, you do! You look like a girl dressed as a boy.” Sarah agreed.

“Good. Hopefully, my parents will notice that.” Lindsay smiled.

“The necklace will help!” Jess giggled.

Lindsay glanced down in surprise to see Sarah’s heart pendant still dangling from her neck. “I guess I forgot I was wearing it!” She chuckled.

“You know what? I never wear that anymore – not because I don’t like it, just... because I have enough other ones, that some don’t get worn anymore. So, keep it.” Sarah decided.

“Really?” Lindsay marveled.

“Really. If you need to be yourself, you can put it on in your room and it will help!” Sarah moved toward Lindsay to hug her again.

“Awwwwww!”

“You’re the best!” Lindsay gushed. After several sweet moments, she released the hug and turned to the group. “I love you guys!” She gathered them into a group hug. “Thank you so much for your love and support! God, I could never say that as a guy!” She broke them into laughter.

“We love you, too, Lindsay!” Liz smiled.

For a few moments, the room was peaceful and quiet. “Well, I have to go. I really shouldn’t miss that call.” Linsday murmured.

“Yeah, you should get going.” Sarah agreed.

“Okay. I’m leaving now.” Lindsay sighed, fingering her new heart pendant.

“We’ll come down to the front door!” Sarah insisted, and they followed Lindsay downstairs, where Sarah opened the door.

“Thanks, guys! For everything. I’ll see you soon, somehow. We’ll figure it out!” Lindsay smirked.

“You’re darn right we will!” Sarah half-joked.

“Yeah. Okay, bye now!” Lindsay smiled once more, turned, and trotted down the front stairs.

Chapter 7

Chris spent the entire two-block walk thinking about everything that had happened, and still trying to figure out just how to come out to his parents... and at some point, his brother. As he approached his white, French colonial home, he stared at it for a while before walking up to the front door. Letting himself into the house, he realized he was hungry and decided to head to the kitchen. He turned on the TV to provide some ambiance, and that was when the universe revealed its final cosmic surprise for the day. He was flipping through the TV guide from the newspaper, looking for something to watch when he saw that there was a documentary scheduled at nine-thirty that evening about Renée Richards, a professional tennis player who had been born a man but who now lived full-time as a woman!

“Oh, my God! She’s like me! I’m not the only one!” Chris smiled, letting himself tear up since he was alone. “This is how I’m going to tell my parents! This is exactly what I need!” Feeling the need to cry for a few minutes, he stepped into the bathroom off of the kitchen and did just that until he felt properly vented. As he was cleaning himself up, the phone rang and he dashed to the phone in the kitchen to answer.

“Chris?”

“Hi, Mom!”

“Are you home safe?”

“Yup. Everything’s fine,” he lied.

“Okay, good. There’s some leftover spaghetti in the fridge that you can microwave for dinner.”

“Okay! Sounds good! See you at nine, I guess!”

“Alright, see you then! Buh-bye! I love you!”

“Love you too!”

He hung up, relieved that she hadn’t probed his mood as she was wont to do.

* * * * *

The next two hours were very tense for Chris. He tried to watch a movie on the TV in the kitchen, but he could hardly focus. Finally, nine o’clock came and he heard the sound of a key in the front door, along with the sound of five noisy boys.

“Chris? Are you home?” His mother, Diane, shouted.

“We are!” His father, Justin, joked.

“Okay, Patrick, take your friends down to the basement and put on a movie,” Diane urged.

“Hi.” Chris stepped out into the front hall to greet his parents as the other kids stampeded downstairs.

“There you are! Hi sweetie! Did you have a good day?” Diane hugged her child.

“It was wonderful!” Chris answered.

“What did you do?” Diane questioned. “And why does your hair smell like flowers? And whose necklace is that??”

Chris glanced at the top of the basement stairs before answering, his nerves flaring, “I would like to tell you all about it while Patrick and his friends are busy downstairs. Please come into the kitchen with me and we’ll talk about it. Oh, and at nine-thirty, there’s something on that I would like you to watch with me.”

“Oh. Okay, sweetheart, uh...” Diane glanced at her husband. “Let’s go sit down.” With that, Lindsay led the way to the kitchen.

And that is the story of Lindsay’s cosmic outing.

[ Other Stories By Mona Lisa ]



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